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Film Review: American Legal System is Put on Trial in ‘Crown Heights’

CHICAGO – There is no justice for the poor. That should be carved in stone on courthouses beside all the platitudes of American “equality” and “law.” In an eye-opening narrative film based on a true story, “Crown Heights” explores just how an impoverished individual can be found guilty and imprisoned unjustly for years.

Interview, Audio: Abby Quinn, Gillian Robespierre & Elisabeth Holm of ‘Landline’

Landline Abby Quinn, Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – It takes a collaborative village to make a movie, and part of that collective came to Chicago to promote “Landline.” Director Gillian Robespierre, Co-Writer Elisabeth Holm and debut actress Abby Quinn were essential to the film, which is set in 1990s New York City and features Jenny Slate in the lead role.

Interview, Audio: Actress Jenny Slate Answers the Call in ‘Landline’

CHICAGO – Jenny Slate keeps getting more high profile, both in voiceover work (“The Secret Life of Pets”) and as an actress. Her latest film is “Landline,” her second with director Gillian Robespierre. In the film, Slate portrays an engaged-to-be-married “adult” who is having trouble coming to terms with her life.

Slideshow: Chicago Premiere for the Fourth Season of Starz Network’s ‘Power’

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J.R. Ramirez is Julio in ‘Power.’

CHICAGO – On Sunday (June 25th, 2017), the fourth season began for the popular Starz Network crime drama “Power,” which was created by Courtney A. Kemp and produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The Sunday night broadcast was right on the heels of a special appearance of the cast at the Chicago premiere showcase on June 13th, which was co-presented by Starz and Xfinity. Cast members J.R. Ramirez, Rotimi Akinosho and Chicago’s own Joseph Siroka were at the event.

Interview, Audio: Documentary Director Steve James on ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

CHICAGO – The documentary maker Steve James, one of the best in the history of cinema, has a resume of quality reporting through feature film that is stunning in its context. The director of “Hoop Dreams,” “Stevie,” “The Interrupters,” “Head Games” and the Roger Ebert biography “Life Itself” has a new doc, focusing on one repercussion of the financial crisis of 2008, subtly entitled “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

Interview, Audio: Comedian Demetri Martin on His Film ‘Dean’

CHICAGO – The dry, hangdog demeanor of comedian Demetri Martin is familiar to fans who have watched his Comedy Central show, “Important Things,” experienced his notable stand up routines and read his best-selling books. It seemed a natural to leap into film, so Martin has written, directed and portrays the title character in the new release, “Dean.”

Film Review: Chef Emerges in ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’

Jeremiah Tower

CHICAGO – The culture of food has never been more pervasive, from entire broadcast channels devoted to it, to new trends in eating being invented seemingly every day. Where did it all start? The new film ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’ documents the chef that opened the door.

Tribeca 2017 Slideshow: Tracy Morgan and Sting on the Red Carpet for 'The Clapper'

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Tracy Morgan on the Red Carpet at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

NEW YORK CITY – The Red Carpet is always a wild ride with the free-wheeling Tracy Morgan. He was at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival representing his role in the new film “The Clapper,” starring Ed Helms and featuring Brenda Vaccaro, who also walked the carpet. Joining them were surprise guests Mark Cuban and the musician known as Sting.

Tribeca Film Festival Slideshow: Burt Reynolds & Robert De Niro on the Red Carpet for 'Dog Years'

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Robert De Niro, Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase for DOG YEARS.

NEW YORK CITY – Taking a well-deserved one more turn around the block, the legendary Burt Reynolds was at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival representing his new film “Dog Years,” directed by Adam Rifkin, and co-starring Chevy Chase and Ariel Winter. The director and three stars were joined on the Red Carpet by festival co-founder Robert De Niro.

2017 Tribeca Film Festival: Anne Heche Walks the Red Carpet for 'My Friend Dahmer'

NEW YORK CITY – The versatile Anne Heche is in a different type of role… portraying the mother of Jeffrey Dahmer. “My Friend Dahmer,” based on the high school years of the infamous future serial killer, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Wonder Woman

    CHICAGO – There are few films in 2017 that are as historically important as they are cinematically well-crafted. Of those, there is only one I saw three times in theaters. That honor comes in the form of the revolutionary “Wonder Woman,” which not only shows huge promise for the future of DC Comics films but for comic book-based films as a whole.

  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

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